Syndicate Reboot Definitely A Shooter?

Speaking of games that are back from the dead in FPS form, here’s the latest on Syndicate. It would seem improbably in the extreme that Starbreeze, the guys behind the Riddick games and The Darkness, would do anything other than a shooter, but this “Inside Starbreeze” piece at 1up seems to confirm it. This quote attributed to “a source” seems to say that the game – which is Codenamed “Project Redlime” until EA choose to reveal it – sits firmly within Starbreeze’s shooter evolution heritage. There’s more from Starbreeze’s Johan Kristiansson following it.

“RedLime was meant to be the step up from Darkness, where we sort of took all the mistakes we did with Darkness and do them right.”

That could only mean one thing.


  1. Inigo says:

    Well fuck.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Not necessarily. There was a lot of shootybang in Syndicate.

      That said, “that could mean only one thing” is false. It could mean lots of things.

    • Snidesworth says:

      We may still get a good cyberpunk shooter out of it. Maybe even some interesting team based multiplayer. This is all optimistic speculation, of course.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      Good cyberpunk? Already got that: Deus Ex. What I wanted was a isometrical real-time no-strategy thing… What I wanted was Syndicate.

      The studio that I miss the most is Bullfrog, after all…

    • jonfitt says:

      Don’t it always seem to go
      That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone …

  2. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    Good job.

  3. MuscleHorse says:

    Great. EA shitting all over another one of their greats. Haven’t they done enough to the lineage of Bullfrog?

  4. MrMud says:

    big suprise, here is to hoping Paradox can make something interesting instead.

  5. Robert says:

    Heh, that’s good news to me. I was fighting with the controls, ALL THE TIME, but I wanted to play it through.

    • Tunips says:

      Anyone know of games, indie or otherwise, that make a decent job of knocking-off the syndicate gameplay style? Preferably with, as Robert points out, not-awkward-90s-controls.

  6. sneetch says:

    “The idea is that the game will mix the Syndicate universe with first-person gameplay, with a bigger focus on multiplayer than past Starbreeze games.”


    Pity… oh well, while it might be a fun game, it’ll be about as close to Syndicate as a rally game set in the universe would be Syndicate.

    Actually that might be more fun than an FPS.

  7. _Jackalope_ says:

    I hoping it means a shooter in the way Hired Guns was a shooter. Perhaps we still get a team to control and can take over individuals?

  8. Mungrul says:

    If it has guns in it, that means it must be a first-person shooter. Rule number one in the Western Game Publisher’s Big Book Of Development.

  9. gulag says:


    And so, the last chance for a big budget developer to put any weight behind the constant speil we hear about re-embracing the PC and innovative game mechanics circles the drain and slurps down the plughole.

    In 10 years time, when these publishers are looking at their balance sheets and wondering where all the money went, I wonder will it occur to them that maybe recasting everything as an FPS might have driven their customers into the arms of indie and small scale devs with the foresight to try making interesting games?

    I’m looking at my gaming spend this year, and not a lot of it is going in the direction of companies who base their developments decisions on the idea that I’ll buy any old crap as long as I get to wave a gun around.

    • MrMud says:

      Because thats totally happening with CoD

    • StranaMente says:

      As a matter of fact this year I spent more money in small indie games than in big budget AAA ones. And between friends we agreed we all feel fps fatigue. We are at a point where it doesn’t matter anymore what you kill, as the mechanics and gameplay feel all the same.

    • Brutal Deluxe says:


      At the beginning of the year I had pre-orders for Arkham Asylum, Deus Ex 3 and Dragon Age 2. I cancelled all of them, in favour of playing things like Terraria and Spacechem. The only AAA games I’ve invested in is Bulletstorm (because it’s a great 3D vision experience) and Portal 2. I will probably get the Witcher 2 at some point, but only if I ever complete the original.

      Considering I haven’t previously been interested in Indie games, many of them are far better than anything EA has to offer.

    • John Connor says:

      You’re right. An FPS on the platform that invented FPS is obviously not embracing the platform.

  10. N'Al says:

    Starbreeze have actually done non-FPS games before: link to

    As for this announcement, it’s a shame, but I’m not going to write it off completely since when Starbreeze have done FPS games they’ve usually been anything but bog standard and generally very interesting. Here’s hoping Syndicate will be too.

  11. Inigo says:

    link to

    Contez, M – 40s, African-American – Mature resistance leader with slight urban/hip-hop edge.


    • Radiant says:

      He will have dreads.

    • Brutal Deluxe says:

      He will also use questionable grammatical structure

    • sinister agent says:

      Does “urban” mean “black” now? Because I thought it meant, y’know, of or relating to a city. Perhaps I have been wrong all this time.

  12. mondomau says:

    So, another FPS with the decaying, papery skin of a beloved title of yesteryear stretched over the top then? Marvelous.

  13. timmyvos says:

    What is it with isometric strategy games getting a shooter reboot. First X-Com and now Syndicate.

    • Khemm says:

      What is it with RPGs emulating pen-and-paper rules like Fallout being turned into shooters?

      The answer is the same – they aren’t dumb, they know shooters sell and most people whining here will buy them anyway & love them to bits (because they’re flashy and shiny).

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      And good. Don’t forget “good”.

    • Subject 706 says:

      They actually ARE dumb. Recasting everything into the one genre that is extremely overcrowded and competitive is dumb. Really dumb. Not to mention creatively underwhelming.

    • Warskull says:

      “The answer is the same – they aren’t dumb, they know shooters sell and most people whining here will buy them anyway & love them to bits (because they’re flashy and shiny).”

      The people here are the footnote, their target is console players. Turn based games typical are more niche and shooters fly of the shelves. PC gamers these days are just considered “that audience where we can sell them a half-assed console port and make some extra money.”

    • Big Murray says:

      It begs the question though … if you want to make shooters out of old games, why pick game franchises which were primarily PC-based? The XCOM games were definitely made for the PC, and most people who’ve played Syndicate probably did it on the PC or the Amiga. It’s an odd crowd to be targeting for the console generation.

  14. Jesrad says:

    So it’ll be a horrid console shooter with a cover system and regenerating health? And when the game fails they’ll claim that the classics are commercially unviable and continue trying to shoehorn everything into the console shooters/generic fantasy MMO’s templates.

  15. Unaco says:

    I would like to politely express some outrage at this news. Grumblegrumblegrumble beloved game of my youth twisted into something unrecognisable…. grumblegrumblegrumble threats of mild sexual violence against all and sundry…. Possible willingness to keep an open mind until I know more about the game is dismissed due to past experience… Wailing and Gnashing of teeth over current state of Videogames and the monetary motivations, and lack of imagination/creativity, of developers. Statement largely blaming consoles and some vaguely defined concept of how a game is a ‘PC’ or a ‘Console’ game and that these two types are mutually exclusive. Comment that this is going to be Syndicate in name only.

    I think that covers everything.

    • AndrewC says:

      This ‘politeness’ you speak of smells like ‘adaptive outrage’ and that’s some fucking console Oblivi-shit to me.

    • Zarunil says:

      Well said. Saved me some time typing a long rant.

  16. kyrieee says:

    “It would seem improbably in the extreme that Starbreeze, the guys behind the Riddick games and The Darkness, would do anything other than a shooter, but this “Inside Starbreeze” piece at 1up seems to confirm it.”

    Aren’t you saying that the 1up piece is confirming that it isn’t a shooter?

    • Acorino says:

      It sounds like he’s saying that, yet he didn’t mean it.

  17. Moni says:

    The idea of a first-person syndicate seems fine to me.

  18. Schadenfreude says:

    Whilst I would have loved to see a ‘proper’ Syndicate game I love what these guys did with Riddick, so I’m gonna wait and see before passing a judgement. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed though.

  19. Spacewalk says:

    So hopefully we’ll be able to see inside buildings now.

  20. Alexandros says:

    Yay! Another shooter! Can’t have enough of those.

  21. bluebottle says:

    Had no other expectation when rumours of a Syndicate (replace with any other non FPS game) reboot started surfacing.

    Actually, that’s not strictly true, I thought there was an outside chance it could be a Social Network Micro-Transaction game.

  22. Bilbo says:

    I met some of the StarBreeze guys a few years ago at one of those Eurogamer “it’s a bit like a convention and also a careers fair and also rubbish” events. They seemed like genuinely nice guys – a far cry from the miserable asshats at Realtime Worlds, who didn’t have the time of day for us – which makes this news all the harder for me, because I really despise this trend of “take classic property and turn it into dull first-person shooter” and thus it saddens me that StarBreeze are playing the same tune.

  23. Srethron says:


  24. voidburn says:

    Oh ze Horror! :( On the other hand, I’m having so much fun with Indie games that I can still hope someone will come up with that concept again. Proudly in the last 4 months I spent more on indie that on block busters. And what a good 4 months it’s been!

    I miss Bullfrog so, so much, when is Molineaux going back to not making shitloads of money and make bold new strides? Indie game dev is waiting for him to come back and shine…

    P.S. if he makes Fable 4 or another Populous/BW I’ll die inside. Gimme back Magic carpet! Dungeon Keeper! Hi Octane! and for the love of God, Syndicate!

  25. Preston Parr says:

    Strategy game or not, Starbreeze will most probably give us a great cyberpunk game.

  26. jellydonut says:

    I don’t mind actually. This is exactly how I imagined a Syndicate remake.

    Point #1: Why did Bullfrog use a birds-eye perspective? Because of technical limitations. First-person and third-person shooters looked utterly horrible in 1993. The birds-eye perspective meant they could make the game look fantastic for its time.

    Point #2: What is plausible? The premise was remote-controlled cyborgs. In order to make the birds-eye view seem plausible, the developers fashioned a plot device where you, the executive, was sat in a blimp having overwatch over your two-legged drones. Damn, that’s a fast moving blimp. Bottom line.. the first-person view is more plausible for the scenario (cameras in the cyborgs head? cybernetic eyes? of course.), and I’ll bet that if Bullfrog was around today and was making Syndicate today, it is the perspective they would choose.

    I have faith that Starbreeze will be able to catch the atmosphere, game world, and feel of Syndicate. I don’t think the perspective matters a lot. If you guys could retract your heads from the nostalgia-colored sand and keep an open mind, maybe you too could be a little positive for once.

    Syndicate was the first PC game I played, and I have fond memories of it. Doesn’t mean I have to react to a remake like a rabid muslim protester.

    • Acosta says:

      Oh, good, another one who thinks all developers wanted to make Modern Warfare back then but they couldn’t because the technology was not awesome enough, it seems like a trend.

      Nice analysis man, but in your interface analysis you forgot to remember what was the game about: have a lot of different and big maps and do whatever you want to complete the mission. Small detail, because, you know, UI is actually irrelevant, this is not an isometric VS FP battle. This is a matter of what GAME they are going to provide, and it´s important, be it isometric, FP, or 5D, to respect what the game was about because that it´s what made Syndicate.

      So if they want to provide a freeform FPS with a gigantic city (or better, several), with the right elements, that could be cool and I will be the first one to cheer at the chance. BUT if they go with another corridor shooter with a cyberpunk setting and multiplayer with people throwing knives to each other, there will be rage.

    • bill says:

      or a rabid fanboy, which is much scarier.
      or a rabid christian protester.
      or a…

    • Brutal Deluxe says:

      Well that’s alright. In another 20 years we’ll be lamenting how the FPS game developers really wanted to make something where you could inflict actual violence upon random people, but that was all the technology would allow at the time

    • jellydonut says:

      Did I ever mention Modern Warfare?

      So every first-person shooter made is a Modern Warfare clone, is that it? I guess you’d count Half-Life 2 and Battlefield there as well?

      There’s nothing to suggest an expansive gritty open-world cyberpunk game can’t be made without the birds-eye perspective. All the responses to my comment here really just prove my point – you’re not open to anything that differentiates even slightly from your myopic view of what Syndicate ‘should’ be.

    • Acosta says:

      Syndicate “shouldn’t” be anything.
      Syndicate is Syndicate.
      “There’s nothing to suggest an expansive gritty open-world cyberpunk game can’t be made without the birds-eye perspective”
      Did you read my post? I said I have no problems with that, it could work. The one who need glasses is you who think this is a matter of perspective or cameras. It´s not. The problem is that they are not going to offer that, do you want to bet?

  27. Joc says:

    I am disappointed, but let’s keep hope alive.

    I’d hazard it took some massive cojones to suggest channelling the Syndicate IP into an FPS. That, or a total disregard for personal integrity. I’m really hoping for the former, and that these cojones can make an excellent game of it.

  28. bill says:

    Wouldn’t a first person Syndicate be basically like Overlord? (but, you know, first person)

    I basically just got huge squads of mind-controlled civilians and used them as human shields. On every level.

  29. sneetch says:

    I’ve had time to think about it (and a sandwich) and you know what? It could be worse. They could just be jumping on the modern or very near future soldiers fighting them thar A-rabs/goddamn reds bandwagon like a lot of other games, if they manage to capture the sheer awesomeness and spirit of Syndicate (disclaimer: game was released 18 years ago, awesomeness may largely be imagined, spirit may be misremembered) and put it into this game then that could be great.

    They did a great job with Riddick afterall, in fact (giggle) you could say they did a… if you will… Riddickulously good job with that game (snort).

    There may have been something off in that sandwich.

  30. TeraTelnet says:

    What a shame.

  31. bill says:

    A modern FPS of Syndicate where the hero realises he’s been working for the bad guys and changes sides? Didn’t someone already make Haze?

  32. terry says:

    So it’s actually the Darkness 2?

  33. Atrak says:

    so its not really syndicate then?

  34. Zogtee says:

    Limes aren’t red, are they?

  35. somnolentsurfer says:

    I didn’t play X-COM back in the day, so I never really got all the outrage. Now I do.

  36. Unaco says:

    Just to put a more serious comment here… This seems to be making the same mistake, to me, as the X-Com remake is making. It’s taking as Syndicate (or X-Com) the setting and the style, the look and the feel. Yes, these are fantastically important things to those games/franchises, but they weren’t all that those games were… To me, the most important thing about them, was the gameplay – Global strategy and local turn based tactical encounters. Without that gameplay, these are just games with the names tagged on. I’m not saying they won’t be good games… they could very well be. Just they won’t be Syndicate and XCom games to me.

  37. mantel says:

    Hope they make it syndicate-y instead of doing it like that other company and going the same direction they’ve gone with all their games.

    “Syndicate is a gripping tactical action experience set in mid-century America, where the player leads an elite field team of specialised government agents into battle – combining deep, visceral gunplay with powerful sci-fi abilities.”

  38. Prometeo138 says:

    i hope its a hybrid like battlezone, you can command your cyborgs from your zepppelin and take control of each one of them in fps mode to use the flame thrower on a zealot of the new church and watch him burn!

    • Subject 706 says:

      No, because that would include horrible concepts like ‘risk-taking’ and ‘complex gameplay’, when all gamers really want is instant shooty-bang-bang, if you listen to the PR-suits of today.

    • Gabbo says:

      Well if that article is to be believed, the suits have stepped in for who knows what reason. I have some faith in Starbreeze to make a fun game, even if it is a shooter.

    • Prometeo138 says:

      i just saw this, have syndicate fix!

    • Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

      Oh my god oh my god oh my god I have the original CDs and everything oh my god.

  39. mollemannen says:

    i hope starbreeze looks at what happened with gta when it went to 3d and try to do the same thing. third person would be great for syndicate unless they gonna stick to the rts genre which is fine aswell.

  40. neolith says:

    Aw crap… :(

  41. Tetragrammaton says:

    People do need a little perspective here –

    – A $200million iteration of an isometric turn-based X-com/Syndicate will never be made because we live on Planet Earth and not the Marzipan World of Wonders.

    -The old games are not going anywhere and there are plenty of highly motivated and creative indie devs who might produce spiritual successors which may well one day surpass the originals.

    -Remake games are not an obligatory purchase for existing fans of the series

    -FPSs sell well and it has been proven that attaching the names of beloved old franchises boosts sales. This process does not erase or modify the original games which still exist in unsullied form

    So there.

  42. Chuffy says:

    Syndicate was excellent the way it was. We don’t need another steaming pile of reboot in First Person Shooter form.

    The massively successful strategy franchises do what they do with more of the same with just graphical and tactical enhancements.

    Civ fps? Starcraft Fps? No I don’t think so.

    Why crap all over something that was good by changing the genre. Either remake it better or don’t make it at all.

    And for those unimpressed by that other dreadful reboot of classic strategy UFO Enemy Unknown, X-Com, support this proper indie version instead link to